Hi everyone. Was Wednesday just so-so for you, too? I’m with ya on that one. I’m trying to shake this summer cold I picked up from the girls. It’s definitely made me feel a bit off this week. Yesterday I planned on writing, but the girls were up SUPER early and we started our day at 5:30 am. That’s life with kids for you. Thankfully, we are all on the mend now.
Now that my toddlers are becoming inquisitive-questioning-independent-sometimes too spirited-little girls I’m noticing that they are much more observant of what I am doing and saying. At times I can actually see them processing something new I’ve said or done. They can pick up the littlest things and they ask A LOT of questions. At random times they will say something I may have mentioned last week and I’m just amazed at how they can hang on to information.
I’m definitely not a perfect parent and there are days when I know my mom skills stink, but there are some things I do consistently that I know will have a positive impact on them. Today I want to share the ways I try to set a healthy example for my kids. Please share your comments below. I’d love to know what you think!
4 ways I set healthy examples for my kids
1. I make exercise a priority.
When I leave the house alone it’s typically for one of two reasons: either I’m going to work or I’m going to workout. The girls have become accustomed to this and can usually recognize where I’m going depending on my outfit. I’ll hear them say,“Mommy, are you going to exercise?” (The way they say “exercise” it sounds like “ex-oh-size” and it always makes me smile.) They’ve gotten used to my routine and I’m glad that they can see this is a regular and consistent habit. I hope it will inspire them to want to be active, too.
I’ve never taken the girls to a gym daycare simply because I’ve either worked out at home (while they are napping) or I’ve had coverage so I could slip out on my own. I think bringing your kids with you to the gym would be a great way to demonstrate this healthy habit and I know a lot of parents who do this on the regular.
2. I sit down for my meals.
For the most part I try to sit at the table for my meals. We are trying to get better about eating together as a family, but often the girls are hungry when I get home from work so I’ll fix them their dinner early. I make it a priority to sit with them during their meal and ask them about their day or try to prompt conversation in some way. When I’m ready to eat dinner I always try to sit at the table and eat my meal rather than stand in the kitchen or walk around with my food (believe me, I did way too much of that when the girls were infants). I’m hoping that this behavior will show the girls that mealtime should be an enjoyable, relaxing experience where we slow down and connect as a family without the distractions of our phones or TV.
3. I spend time away from them.
Everyone needs to take time for themselves. As much as I love being with my kids, I value my time alone. This doesn’t have to be anything more than leaving the girls with Matt while I spend an hour or two at a coffee shop working or writing. Or I’ll head out for a walk or a run. Maybe it’s simply going upstairs for awhile to read. It’s just important to have some time away to recharge. Granted, I understand it’s not always easy to do this if you are a stay-at-home mom, but all the more reason to grab the opportunity when it arises!
Having a little time to myself makes me a better mom. Taking care of toddlers can be super draining at times, but carving out some ME time is like hitting the reset button. I feel more relaxed and ready to dive back in when I’ve had a little break to do something I enjoy.
4. By treating them like an adult (well, when appropriate).
I’m starting to realize that having three-year-olds is more challenging than two-year-olds (at least for me). There are a lot of power struggles and frustrating moments. I think my kids genuinely want to understand, but they aren’t quite sure how to express themselves or what to ask. It can’t be easy to convey what you want when your kid, right? There are so many EMOTIONS getting in the way!
Matt and I are trying to talk to the girls more like they are adults in hopes that this might have an impact on their behavior. This means really trying to explain things when we get a million “…but why?” Even if I’m not sure they understand my words I want to show them that I will take the time to help them learn. Side note: I’m starting to really rely on Google for some of these descriptions! How do you explain an antenna?! We have also started asking the girls to help us with things (like cleaning or cooking) to make them feel like they are contributing and that we need their assistance. Finally, we are working on trying to get the girls to express themselves with words (rather than crying and whining), but that takes time. We keep at it and try to be consistent, though.
I’m curious what you think and how you try to set a positive example for your kids. Please share your thoughts below.